August 18, 1848: Camila O’Gorman and Ladislao Gutierrez are executed. O’Gorman was a wealthy socialite from a line of wealthy people. She was the fourth of six children in her family. One of her brothers became a Jesuit priest while an another became a police officer who founded the Buenos Aires Police Academy. Gutierrez was also from a well connected Argentine family as well as a Jesuit priest. His uncle was the governor of Tucuman. He was often invited to the O’Gorman estate and it was there the two began a clandestine affair. They ran away in December 1847 and settled in Corrientes Province under assumed names. They set up the town’s first school.
Juan Manuel de Rosas was the ruler of Argentina and ruled in much the same way as Hitler and Stalin ruled their countries. He created a Cult of Personality which sought out real and perceived enemies of Rosas and eliminated them. The Jesuits, who did not fully back Rosas, were expelled. Camila’s father sent a letter to Rosas claiming that Gutierrez had kidnapped his daughter. At the same time, Rosas was being accused of corrupting the women of Argentina by political opponents. The young couple were recognized at a party and were abducted and returned to Buenos Aires. Camila shocked everyone when she said it was she who had seduced Gutierrez and insisted she had never been raped. She was eight months pregnant at the time.
Rosas’s daughter, Manuelita, was a friend of Camila’s and the two had spent much time together. Camila sent a letter asking for her friend to intervene with her father. Manuelita set up a comfortable room to hold her friend but it was not used. Instead, Rosas, who had taken over the judicial system claimed he needed to make an example of the young couple. They were sentenced to death. When they arrived at prison, a priest was permitted to visit Camila and he baptized her unborn child.
The next morning, the two were led to the courtyard. They were tied to chairs and were blindfolded. The firing squad had to be coerced into firing on the pregnant woman. Rosas accepted full responsibility for the executions. He did not expect the backlash from both friends and enemies. Even his staff condemned him for his “atrocious” acts. The execution was seen as senseless even by those who supported Rosas. Camila was 23 years old when she died; Gutierrez was 24. Rosas ruled until 1852 and when he lost his rule, he also lost his home. He was exiled and took up residency in Great Britain. He caught pneumonia after taking a walk in the cold and died in 1877 at the age of 83.
We met each other when we were young, before we knew enough about disappointment, and once we did we found we reminded each other of it. – Nicole Krauss
The young habitually mistake lust for love, they’re infested with idealism of all kinds. – Margaret Atwood
Perhaps all early love affairs ought to be strangled or drowned, like so many blind kittens. – William Makepeace Thackeray
Young love is a flame; very pretty, often very hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering. The love of the older and disciplined heart is as coals, deep burning, unquenchable. – Henry Ward Beecher
Also on this day: Virginia Dare – In 1587, the first child of English parents was born in the New World.
It’s About Damn Time – In 1920, American women were finally given the vote.
Lolita – In 1958, Nabokov’s famous novel was published in the US.
He – In 1868, helium was discovered.
Panmunjom Ax Murder – In 1976, two Americans were killed.